There is just a little more than two months (66 days to be exact) before my “A” race, Michigan Titanium or MiTi. I reached out to the race directors/owners to see if I could get a little more info on what to expect race weekend.
Ann Vidro, Race co-owner, took some time to Skype with my about MiTi.
PC: How did Titanium start?
Ann Vidro: We are also the directors of the Grand Rapids Triathlon, which is now in it’s third year. The first year we did [the Grand Rapids Tri] we had over 900 athletes come out for a Sprint, Olympic and a half. We got a lot of athletes bugging us after that saying we did it well, why don’t we do a full. Some of our staff have done a full distance and they were all about it, so we thought what the heck! We found a great location, it’s north of Grand Rapids called Versluis Park with beautiful, beautiful water. So two years ago we started it. The whole purpose of the event is to provide a great full-distance for not only local athletes, but athletes across the country that was affordable. Our prices compared to the big guys, can be up to half.
PC: Is there a Pro field that comes out to race MiTi?
AV: You know, there are a lot of Pro’s that come but we don’t actually have a pro division. We’ve kind of stayed away from that just because we’ve been presently surprised by some local non-pro’s who have come up and taken the purse. When you have a pro category no one else can win the money, in our experience 99% of the athletes are not going to be on the podium. In our races, yes we do want the Pro’s to feel important, but we want every athlete to have the opportunity.
PC: How many athletes do you expect this year?
AV: We’re thinking about 600, we’ve pased the 350 mark now and passed our number from last year. That past weekend was the Grand Rapids Triathlon where we had a record number in that event, almost 1300. We have a thing called the Double Down, so if you do the Grand Rapids Tri and then the MiTi you get some discounts, an extra medal, some extra swag. So a lot of our athletes who do the half at Grand Rapids, sign up at MiTi to do the full, so we see are largest registration after that event.
PC: Races of this distance are know for taking over cities, how does the community react to MiTi?
AV: We’ve gotten huge praise for it. The [Wolverine] YMCA, where we do packet pickup & the mandatory race meetings is really cool. They open their doors to the families of the athletes completely for free the whole weekend. The finish line is right along Northland Drive, which is a pretty major road, we actually shut half of it down. There are tons of cars honking and cheering. We chose a part of Grand Rapids that was kind of yearning for something to happen, they welcomed us with open arms. Some of the residents absolutely loved it and were out with their hoses spraying athletes, they set up tents. It’s kind of a novelty for them, they’re amazed at what these athletes go through for a 17 hour race.
Ann also told me that outside the the partner hotels they work with, some residents and local athletes will open their homes to out-of-towners free of charge. That was something I’ve never head of happening at other races.
While the MiTi team works for months on end to ensure a great race for the athletes, they also employ a team of people just to work on the spectator portion of the event, setting up areas for sign making, handing out cowbells and helping the spectators enjoy the event as much as the athletes.
For those athletes that are not sure about to do as far as training goes, MiTitanium offers free training plans on their website as well as a couple on course training sessions and clinics (fees vary leading up to race day.
The course looks amazing. Ann told me that the water on the swim course is very clear. It’s so clean she compared it to drinking water, boats aren’t even allowed in there. It’s a two loop swim with an in water
On the bike course we’ll do two loops through some great scenery with come challenging climbs. This course is a little different than it has been in years past because they wanted to improve the quality of the roads used for the race.
The run course is pretty well shaded according to Ann. It’s double loop as well in a pretty residential area with some awesome crowd support. The town really gets into this event.
If you’re still kicking around the idea of doing a full iron-distance race this year there are spots still open for MiTi at a price you really can’t beat. I know I keep referencing the 140.6, but there is also a 70.3 race as well if that is more your speed.
Regardless of the distance you choose, MiTitanium seems like a great lat summer race to use as your main event or a training race if your event is later in the year. You can register for both MiTi events here.
Thanks to Ann and the MiTi team for being so kind and answering all my questions. I’ll of course have more posts about this race as it gets closer!